Improving Kubuntu's translations
apachelogger at ubuntu.com
Mon May 4 10:33:41 BST 2009
Within the last couple of days we, at Kubuntu, have been working out a list of
major issues we are facing with the current translation process. They are of
considerable impact since I know quite some people who actually decided to not
translate Kubuntu any longer, or even stopped using it. But not only users are
affected, I think if we continue to ship Kubuntu with such poor quality we
will also see a decrease in contributors as well. Why would somone who lives
in France, spend his spare time on Kubuntu when he can't even make his mom or
brother use it because they wouldn't understand half the system.
First off I'd like to direct your attention to
Which provides a set of pictures documenting the state of translation in
Kubuntu and openSUSE, starting with 8.04. It especially gives a quite good
impression of what is going on in-development and how the end result relates
to that. Now, I know that especially for language packs there is a certain
need for short-term breakage, however it happens way too often for Kubuntu
(and I would suppose Ubuntu as well). This prevents sensible QA as well as
using the product.
One of the most incredible things that happened in the 9.04 cycle were, that
the pkgbinarymangler (i.e. the component that is responsible for stripping
translations from packages, in favor of the ubuntu language packs) was changed
to remove translations from desktop files. Incredible is that no one told the
Kubuntu devs beforehand, that no one even tested if that change would cause
problems, that this change was done less than a month before release.
Such things just can not happen anymore.
It is this and a lot of smaller regressions that drain Kubuntu's development
performance (change all of upstream KDE's langauge packs to include the proper
desktop file .pots is certainly no fun and not done within a couple of
So here comes the list of issues:
I'd like to mention that this page's content is based upon known behaviour, if
that knowledge is wrong and the status quo is in fact completely different it
is all the better. The document also comes with suggestions on how to solve
some of these issues, those are really just suggestions of what we think might
be a good solution, then again we are neither working on Rosetta's code nor do
we use it for stuff other than importing, so discussion between people who
actually do is probably necessary. I also want to note that this is not meant
to insult anyone or anyone's work, it is merely a list of issues that need to
be taken care of ASAP in order to ensure that Kubuntu 9.10+ come with as
complete translations as possible.
However in the long run I recommend Canonical to seek direct advise from
upstream (at least for the KDE side of things), they have years of experience
in large scale translation and deployment, not using this knowledge to improve
the Ubuntu translation process would be a waste. Maybe invite some upstream
translators to UDS (sometime)?
Anyway, enough said for now.
Please take a look at the document and give it a thought.
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